Fractures and Alliances: Labour Relations and Worker Experiences in Construction

Mills, Suzanne E. (2017) Fractures and Alliances: Labour Relations and Worker Experiences in Construction. Labour/Le Travail (80). pp. 13-26. ISSN 0700-3862

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Construction is important by virtue of its prevalence in Canada; it is one of the most common types of employment held by men, employing approximately 1.4 million people. Its ubiquity, in addition to its connection to growth in other sectors, has meant that the construction sector is closely followed by governments, who often view construction employment as both an indicator of growth and a source of economic stimulus.3 Despite this, however, labour scholars have paid less attention to construction than to other sectors of employment. Though there is a sizable literature on health and safety and on gender in the construction trades, research about contemporary labour relations is notably sparse. Undeniably, conducting research on construction workers and unions is challenging. The mobile and fragmented character of the construction industry makes recruiting interview participants difficult, and labour unions are often secretive and reluctant to share information with researchers. Unions in the sector also have a mixed history, on the one hand giving voice to workers’ concerns and providing for worker protection, while on the other hand supporting right-leaning governments, promoting business unionism and creating divisions between unionized and non-unionized workers and skilled and unskilled workers. Understanding the complexity of the industry, both its organized and its unorganized elements, is thus a demanding research endeavour.

Item Type: Article
Item ID: 13419
Department(s): Divisions > On the Move Partnership
Date: 2017
Date Type: Publication
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